A dredging pipeline floated in the Gulf of Mexico this week may provide an answer to the burning question of how much oil will be extracted from the waterway.
The pipeline floated Tuesday from a dredging platform in St. Thomas, Fla., to the Mississippi River, a key shipping route for U.S. crude oil shipments.
It was anchored on a floating platform that floats in the Atlantic and a floating buoy, which can be raised for a different purpose.
An oil platform floating in the sea is used for a variety of purposes, including for launching drilling rigs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The dredging project, in addition to being the largest floating platform in the world, also will be the first to reach the Gulf and is expected to provide up to 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the industry, according the agency.
This isn’t the first floating platform floating oil in the gulf.
The Louisiana Purchase in 1831, which was intended to transport gasoline from Louisiana to New Orleans, was a floating oil platform.
It is estimated to have extracted between 2,500 and 3,000 million barrels of oil from the Gulf.
In 2011, a floating pipeline in the Persian Gulf, operated by the company Gulf Pipeline LLC, spilled about 7,000 gallons of oil and other hazardous materials into the Gulf, according a New York Times article.
While it’s unclear how much of the oil spilled from the floating platform, the amount was enough to contaminate the area around the rig.
But according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Gulf Coast was spared much of that spill because of the floating platforms.
The agency reported that the platform in question had been anchored at a depth of 1,300 feet and could not have been dislodged by a strong current, the Times reported.
A number of floating platforms have been floating oil since the 1930s, and most of them are owned by the U.K. company Dredge Oil, which is owned by British Petroleum.
It has been operating in the region since 1999.
The company recently moved its operations to Florida, which has been experiencing a surge in oil prices due to climate change and increased demand for crude oil.
The Dredging Floating Platform in St Thomas, Florida, on March 25, 2017.
The company plans to reopen the floating oil project in 2019.
Dredges float oil and is owned and operated by Gulf Pipeline, according its website.
The firm said in a statement that it was working with local governments to secure a safe and secure location.
“We are committed to working with the communities and stakeholders to ensure the safety and security of the project,” the company said in its statement.